LIFE THE WAY IT IS (Jean-Claude Brisseau, 1978)

Brilliantly written and directed by Eric Rohmer protégé Jean-Claude Brisseau, La vie comme ça revolves around Agnès Tessier, who takes an office job in a chemical factory. She and best friend Florence move into a place in a low-cost apartment building in an unsavory neighborhood. It is Florence’s father, who is smitten with Agnès, who has arranged for this place for her and his daughter.
     The tragicomedy divides its time between apartment building and workplace, with an intimate outing in the country between Agnès and Florence’s father. At home, Agnès befriends the gay concierge, who is as tender-hearted as she and a target of bullies. Indeed, violence attaches itself to the housing project. When Agnès and Florence first move in, an apparent suicide from the seventh floor has bloodied the courtyard, and an elderly resident is later butchered for her monthly pension allotment.
     But it is at the workplace that the film most fascinates. Muriel (played by Bulle Ogier’s ill-fated daughter, Pascale Ogier) is groped by a higher-up, whom she slaps while fighting back, and is summarily fired; without success, Agnès takes up the cause of getting Muriel her job back. This inspires Agnès to run for the office of union representative, and she wins. As a result she is demoted and becomes the target of a vicious campaign of harassment the aim of which is to pressure her to quit.
     Home and workplace now become one. False rumors circulate that Florence and Agnès are lesbian lovers. Florence thus angrily moves out and forces a break in Agnès’s relationship with her father. There is a greater tragedy awaiting Agnès that brings the film to a stunning conclusion—this, after female solidarity at the workplace tips the balance of justice in Agnès’s favor.

B(U)Y THE BOOK

MY BOOK, A Short Chronology of World Cinema, IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM THE SANDS FILMS CINEMA CLUB IN LONDON. USING EITHER OF THE LINKS BELOW, ACCESS THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR THIS BOOK, FROM WHICH YOU CAN ORDER ONE OR MORE COPIES OF IT. THANKS.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Dennis+Grunes&x=14&y=16

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Dennis+Grunes&x=14&y=19

One thought on “LIFE THE WAY IT IS (Jean-Claude Brisseau, 1978)

  1. I just watched this movie and wanted to find some discussion of it on the web. Unfortunately it seems to be quite obscure, but I enjoyed your write up and it really summed up the film perfectly for me. I hope more people can discover this film, which combines the moodiness of Rohmer with the black, violent humour of Godard.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s